Self-driving cars have recently seen a wave of accidents, so residents of Iowa who are wary about them may be wondering how the makers of self-driving technology are responding. In the case of one accident that occurred in May, the response is disconcerting. In this case, a Utah driver crashed her Tesla Model S into a fire truck, and although the Autopilot program was on, she was distracted by her phone. The driver survived with a broken ankle.
The Tesla CEO and the company’s supporters came back with comments on social media criticizing what they felt to be the undue attention that the accident received. They say that news media should be focusing on the hundreds of fatal crashes that occur each day. However, anyone who watches the news knows that fatal crashes are being reported virtually every day. Many suspect that Tesla simply wants to avoid scrutiny into the crash.
What Tesla apparently does not understand is that the accident received wide news coverage because it addresses people’s concerns about self-driving technology. A research paper from the University of Michigan states that a self-driving car should be test-driven in real-world or simulated settings for at least 11 billion miles before it can be demonstrated to be safe; Tesla has hardly reached this figure. Self-driving technology also makes drivers complacent and distracted as shown by the Utah incident. Whether Tesla will improve safety standards is another matter.
Victims of auto accidents may be eligible to receive compensation no matter what sort of technology was involved. After having a lawyer evaluate the case and determine it to be valid, the victim might hire him or her to gather proof of the defendant’s negligence, which could include everything from physical evidence at the crash site to eyewitness testimony. The lawyer may then proceed to negotiations.